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7 Important Ways to Get Your Online Business Ready for the Holidays

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It’s the most wonderful time of year! Christmas is one of the biggest shopping seasons for retailers in-store and online. And while competition in the eCommerce space is pretty tight throughout the year, this is even more true during high-volume shopping periods. Brands need to stand out from the crowd in order to win sales and create long-term relationships with new customers.

The period between December 15 and 24 typically accounts for the bulk of all Christmas sales. That means there’s not much time left to get ready for the influx of orders, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you get prepared this holiday season. We know the days and weeks leading up to the holidays are a whirlwind for online retailers, but there are some tips that can make this years’ shopping season a little easier (and more profitable).

Stand Out This Holiday Season

Getting your store ready for the holidays takes a lot of dedicated planning months in advance. But even the weeks leading up to Christmas present plenty of opportunities to spruce up your store and make connections with consumers. Here are some tried and tested tips to help eCommerce businesses prepare for the busiest shopping days of the year:

Learn From Last Year 

Before you do anything else, think back to last year’s holiday shopping season. Understanding what went well and what could have gone better is the first step to creating better processes moving forward. Here are some questions to ask to get the most out of your holiday review:

  • What went really well?
  • What didn’t go smoothly?
  • What were your most popular products?
  • Which days and hours had the highest traffic?
  • What were your most successful marketing campaigns?
  • Which marketing channels produced the most conversions?
  • What were your best-performing keywords?
  • How much revenue did you earn last season?
  • What was the average order value?
  • How did your competitors fare?

Finally, ask yourself what is different about this year from last year? Taking into account staffing changes, business restructuring, new suppliers, the shifting pandemic, and rebranding will all give you some indication about what will work best for your online store this season. 

Get in the Holiday Spirit

Even though your store is online, you should still decorate for the holiday season!  An undecorated page is unlikely to get much attention, especially since shoppers will be scrambling until the last minute to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. 

You should update your landing pages with festive themes and include holiday-related promotions on your website leading up to the big day. It’s also important that online shoppers can easily find your holiday sales and gift sections, so be sure to make it very obvious where they can find these pages.

Optimize Your Website

Running and maintaining an online business means your website is your storefront. That’s why it’s crucial to hire a developer that can get your site looking and running its best. According to recent statistics, over half of all developers working today have under five years of experience under their belt. This means it’s easier than ever to land a developer who is up-to-date on the latest trends and frameworks. 

Website optimization means making your website easy to use and easy on the eyes. Customers expect responsive web pages that load quickly, as well as simple navigation tools that allow them to get exactly where they need to be on your site. 

Make it easy for visitors to buy things from your online store. For example, put the navigation at the top of the screen, and make holiday sections bold and bright. If you are offering discount codes, make sure they work as expected. These small adjustments will make your website better equipped to handle the holiday influx of traffic

Increase Content Marketing Efforts

The holiday season is a chaotic time for online retailers, but it’s important to keep creating content. Content marketing is attention-grabbing, interactive, and can help build relationships with your customers. And with everyone’s marketing efforts at an all-time high, content marketing can help your brand get noticed by higher quality leads. 

Content marketing can be anything from blog posts to Pinterest videos, Instagram giveaways to email marketing – anything that uses rich content to provide value to your customers. How-to videos, tips and tricks, and articles with relevant content are all great places to start. 

And, of course, use your content to talk up your Christmas promotions. One study revealed that 44% of email recipients said a mass promotional email helped them make one or more purchasing decisions.  

Update Your Mobile Experience

Don’t forget about your mobile shoppers! Not only are more people shopping online since the onset of the pandemic, but more people are using shopping apps on their phones to do so. 

Simply being “mobile-friendly” just doesn’t cut it. Instead of rearranging your content so that it looks more uniform on mobile, use a responsive web design that is able to change according to what type of device is accessing your online store. Mobile optimized web pages will have larger buttons and smaller images as well as auto-fill forms and multiple screens to avoid endless scrolling. 

What’s more, according to recent surveys, 71% of customers prefer to pay with a credit card. And now, even more, people are paying using apps like PayPal and Klarna. It’s important to make sure your payment gateway can accept many payment methods and works seamlessly on mobile devices. 

Highlight Your Shipping and Return Policies

Research shows that 56% of millennials expect same-day and next-day delivery options. Shoppers that are cutting it close to Christmas day will probably realize that shipping time might be an issue. They will want to know when their packages will get there and if they can return them. 

To avoid an influx of customer service tickets, highlight your shipping and return policies in several places where they will be seen by all visitors. Product pages, cart view pages, checkout portals, and even on your homepage are all great places to highlight these policies. 

Bump Up the Customer Service

With the holiday season comes a spike in sales, which also means more customer service tickets. 

Some companies bring on temporary, seasonal workers to get through the Christmas rush. Holiday staff are lifesavers, so make sure they feel like they are a crucial part of the team, even if only temporarily. A recent survey showed that when there is a low level of respect among workers, holiday staff are 26% more likely to quit.  Plus, there could be some very talented individuals who have the potential to be long-term assets to your online business.

And if you haven’t already, you need to deploy a chatbot service on your homepage. According to one survey, 64% of consumers agree that 24/7 support is one of the biggest benefits of chatbots. It will also make it easier for your business to handle a large influx of customer communications by passing off easier tickets to bots. 

Conclusion

The holiday season is a hectic time of year for online retailers, but the holiday spirit must carry on. Follow these tips before the biggest shopping week of the year, and you will have a much smoother experience. Get your online store ready to meet the needs of your customers, so they’ll be coming back for more in the New Year. 

If you’re dragging your feet this year, check out our webinar recording for some tips for your last-minute holiday marketing campaign. 

Author Bio

Lee Li is a project manager from ShenZhen, China. She currently lives in Singapore and works as a B2B copywriter. She has a decade of experience in the Chinese fintech startup space as a PM for TaoBao, MeitTuan and DouYin (now TikTok).

Seen at: Benchmarkemail.com

EMAIL MARKETING

How to Create an Email Marketing Calendar in 2022

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How many batch and blast marketing emails do you get in a day? More importantly, how often do you mark all of them as “read” without actually reading them? 

Naturally, you don’t want to be just another brand that clutters your customers’ inboxes. So how then can you cut through the noise and ultimately increase your open and click-through rates?

There are two things that determine a successful email marketing campaign: consistency and proper segmentation.

This means that you should be able to reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. 

One way to ensure this is through an email marketing calendar

With one, you can plan, create, and schedule your emails for the best possible results.

There are many ways to create an email marketing calendar including using spreadsheets or tools specifically designed for planning. 

PromoPrep Email Calendar

Now, let’s talk about how you can create an email marketing calendar.

Be Clear on Your Goals for Your Email Campaigns

The first step to creating an email campaign calendar is to figure out what type of messages you want to share to your customers.

Do you want to:

  • Promote a new product or event?
  • Re-engage your customers?
  • Encourage them to check out items from their abandoned carts?
  • Launch a seasonal campaign tied to an upcoming sale?
  • Send a newsletter or useful content to establish your expertise in the field? 

Identifying your goals can help you tailor a strategy that makes sense to your recipients. From this list, you can then start to plan the kind of emails that you want to send out, and when they will be sent out. 

Determine the frequency of your send-outs for each campaign

Now that you have a list of campaigns that you want to launch through email, you can then plot these on your working calendar. 

For example, if you want to start sending a newsletter, what are the best practices in doing so? Your research might tell you that it is best sent once a month. You can then go ahead and plot this in your calendar. 

You might also want to run a sale monthly. If so, be sure to block out a day in your calendar for send out. 

The idea is to plot these emails on your calendar to give you a visual idea of how your quarter (or perhaps, year) is shaping up. You might notice that some months may be overloaded with emails and some have huge gaps in them. You can then adjust your emails accordingly—both for your subscribers and the marketing team’s benefit. 

Determine Your Segments

The last thing that you want to do is to send emails that are not relevant to your recipients. After all, not everyone is going to be on the same stage in your marketing funnel — so be sure to segment your emails based on where they are in their buyer’s journey.  

You can do this by determining which campaigns you want to send to everyone, and which ones should go to a specific set of people on your list.  Doing this after you have plotted the frequency of your send-outs will also help you determine which segments will be overloaded with emails and which ones aren’t getting enough attention. 

Actionable tip: for every email that you want to send out, be sure to ask yourself who should this email go to and who shouldn’t receive this email. For example, you don’t want to send a welcome series to someone who has been in your mailing list for a long time.

The better you get at organizing your emailing list, the more equipped you can be in providing better value through your content. This will help you send targeted messages to the right people.

Start Writing Down Potential Email Subject Lines

One of the challenges that marketers face when drafting their email content is in writing the subject line. It has to be catchy, relevant and provides the recipient with a sneak peek at what’s inside the email. In other words, it is a pain to write. 

However, it deserves special attention because it will determine whether your email will get opened or not. No matter how much time you’ve spent creating superb content, well-designed graphics, and hard-to-ignore promotions, all of this will be irrelevant if your subject line fails to catch your audience’s attention. 

A component this important should be planned ahead of time. 

Our advice: Come up with a list of your potential subject lines and run them through email subject line testers. Even with these steps, there’s still a possibility that you’ll end up with an entirely different subject line as your content takes shape — but this will help. 

Determine The Type of Content You Want To Share in Every Email

The next thing that you want to do is to determine the content that you want to include in each of your emails. Your task should then include pulling relevant articles from your blog, linking videos from your brand’s channel, and creating graphics for the body of your email. 

All of this should then be saved in a single folder dedicated to every campaign. This eliminates the possibility of sending the wrong graphics or linking the wrong video to your emails. 

Of course, after all, this, be sure to link each specific folder to the right entry in your email marketing calendar.

Finalize the dates and times of your send-outs

Now that you have a solid idea of what you’ll be sending out, who it will be sent to, and what the content of each email will be, it’s time to determine your publish dates and time. 

Be sure to research what the best practices are in sending out emails. For example, you might find out that the best days to send emails are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. 

Plotting the send-out dates in your calendar lets you or your team manager plot the workflow so each member can be delegated a task with the corresponding deadlines—all in time for the publish date. 

Final Thoughts

Email marketing is all about providing relevant content to the right audience. While there is no single formula that can ensure positive results, coming up with a solid plan and a well-designed email marketing calendar is a good start. 

Just remember that your job as an email marketer does not end after the last email has been sent out. Be sure to constantly monitor each campaign’s performance, employ email A/B testing to improve open rates, and always be prepared to reevaluate and revise your approach. 

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10 Tips On Effective Email Marketing For Mobile Apps in 2022

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If you are one of those who thinks email marketing does not work, then you are definitely missing out on a huge market opportunity.

The reason most people conclude email marketing is least relevant is that they aren’t doing it effectively.

An effective email marketing campaign will still produce tremendous results in 2022. It is a good way that top app development companies in the USA can get their messages out to their customers and clients and can also help to strengthen relationships.

There are basically three types of emails; marketing emails, transactional emails, and operational emails.

Marketing emails consist of a newsletter, announcements, sales promotions, and press releases. Companies send these emails to people who want to receive updates from them. These include; clients, affiliates, prospects etc. This is the type of email you get when you subscribe to a website’s newsletter.

Transactional emails are emails that are triggered by a customer’s action or activities. Some examples of transactional emails include welcome messages, registration confirmations, tracking information, sales receipt, invoice etc. Transactional emails have the best chance of being opened as they are trusted emails. They provide an opportunity for more engagement.

Operational emails communicate important information about a business to customers. This includes informing them of holidays closures, service unavailability, maintenance plans etc. This is one of the least successful emails as people tend to skip it quite frequently.

10 Tips On Effective Email Marketing For Mobile Apps in 2022

Below are ten tips for effective email marketing during mobile app development;


1. Building subscriber list:

The first step towards an effective email marketing campaign for mobile apps is building your subscriber list. Of course, who would you promote to if you don’t have any subscribers?

App development companies can encourage sign up by making sure subscriptions forms are available on their homepage and in every other location on their site. Some websites even have sign-up forms that hover over the page and follows the users as they scroll. It is not intrusive, yet it catches attention.

Another effective method of encouraging sign up is by explaining to readers what they stand to gain by subscribing, perhaps a free ebook, or tutorial.


2. Proper targeting:

In order to have an effective email marketing campaign in 2021, you must learn to target your emails to the right recipient.

One of the top reasons why email marketing fails is because mobile app development companies treat all subscribers as the same, hence sending blanket emails.

To have an effective email marketing campaign you must segregate appropriately. This will require you to gather as much data as possible pertaining to your subscribers; their geographical location, their buying habit etc.

This way, you can send your subscribers messages that resonate more with their needs and interest. This makes it more likely for them to take up your offer.


3. Personalization:

Personalizing your emails is also another proven way top app development companies can boost their email marketing campaign.

Rather than sending a generalized email to all your subscribers using the boring “dear reader”, you can replace this with the recipient’s name.

Current emailing software allows users to interchange the generalized address pattern with the recipient’s name. This creates a feeling of camaraderie and trust and increases the chance of your email being opened and read.


4. Keep it simple:

It gets pretty confusing and annoying when you open a webpage and you are bombarded by flashy graphics, huge fonts and some other elements that obstruct the main content of the page.

Most times people just abandon such pages and head to alternative one. In order to prevent irritating their audience and potential customers, top app development companies need to keep their layout as simple as possible.

You should make it look professional. A good number of people often mistake simplicity with being cheap or substandard, and complexity with top-notch. That is far from the truth. The most successful campaigns and websites (Facebook, Google, and Instagram etc.) are built on simplicity and ease of use.


5. A powerful call to action:

There is no point sending dozens of emails if you don’t tell your readers what you want them to do with.

Call-to-action is an important element of a successful email marketing campaign. It is the push that is sometimes needed to turn a reader into a customer.

A call to action can ask customers to make a purchase, to subscribe to a newsletter, click on a link, fill a survey form etc.

Email marketing example from Netflix.


6.Proper formatting:

The manner by which the content of your email is presented also goes a long way in determining the success of your campaign.

Firstly, learn to use catchy titles and engaging opening lines. Your opening lines must be geared at holding and sustaining the attention of your readers.

Your opening paragraphs must be such as to highlight the subject matter of the content. Do not beat around the bush, you will lose your readers before they get to the sweet part.

Also, mobile app developers have to observe proper formatting of their content so as to make them easily readable. This will include using short paragraphs, using keywords and phrases that are relevant to their content, using bullet points to allow their audience be able to skim through their content and identify the key points, using of images to illustrate message etc.


7. Ability to unsubscribe:

This may seem like a point that is a successful email marketing campaign but it is actually beneficial to it.

For some reasons, a subscriber may want to opt out of your mailing list. If they are unable to or they find extremely difficult to, they may flag your email as spam and this will cause you problems down the line.


8. Ensure it is mobile friendly:

We are in the age of smartphones where the majority of users access the web via their phones than on their desktops.

Therefore, to have a successful email marketing campaign top app development companies must ensure that their emails are mobile friendly.

They must be able to open on mobile without any of the elements of the email missing. One way to confirm how mobile friendly your emails are is to subscribe to your newsletter and then view it on your smartphone.

mobile-friendly-websites


9. Test:

Before you send out emails ensure that you test and double check your message. Make sure all the properties and links to the email are working properly.

You should also check it on different platforms and on a variety of mobile devices. For a more efficient testing, you can utilize tools like Litmus. This tool tests and provides screenshots of your email as it would appear on different email platforms.

It is bad practice to send mass email without testing. If there is any major error this could damage the credibility of your brand tremendously.


10. Monitor your data:

For an effective email marketing campaign to promote your mobile app, it is important that you monitor your data. Take note of how many of your subscribers actually opened their emails and how many carried out the expected action. Other information such as time of day people opened the messages is also equally important.

You can also read more about personalization of mobile app and evolution of app design articles to learn more about.

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How Does Storytelling Work And Why It Should Be Used In E-Mailing

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How Does Storytelling Work And Why It Should Be Used In E-Mailing

We tell each other stories all the time: at family dinners, at friendly parties, during office lunches, sharing photos on social media, shooting dozens of stories a day. And this information sits much more firmly in our heads than just the facts.

Because when we read stories, our brain uses not only the language part of the brain, which converts words into meanings but also the parts of the brain that deal with emotions. We imagine taste, smell, color, and movement by combining what we’ve heard with our own personal experiences.

What is storytelling, where does it come from and where is it used

Storytelling is a method of conveying information in the form of a story in order to engage the listener’s sensory and emotional experience.

It is the emotional connection to the brand and the company that determines the audience’s affection and trust. And a story is a great way to start this attachment. Storytelling is more than simply that. Any story resolves a conflict, “does irreparable good”, or solves a problem.

How storytelling works

Our brain only engages the left hemisphere when we hear boring facts. Stories include the right hemisphere, which generates images, pictures, emotions. It is a chemical reaction that produces oxytocin, which creates the trust necessary for the success of any deal. When you bring in the emotional connection created by the story, the client doesn’t need to be persuaded.

Commercial storytelling serves several functions.

  • Propaganda
  • Unification
  • Communication
  • Influence

Propaganda

Stories have the power to inspire, persuade, and convince. They have the potential to be long-lasting and drive others to do useful things. In early 2017, Nike, for example, promoted women’s freedom of choice in sports.

Unification

Stories help to shape a project’s, brand’s, and/or company’s culture and establish a common identity. Lego came up with a cute commercial, utilizing a sketch from one family’s life to demonstrate how to bring together customers and a company that creates cubes, after which parents stop walking barefoot in the house.

Communication

Stories inspire trust, and trust is the key to understanding. The greater the understanding, the more effective the communications that lead to the goal.

Influence

Stories inspire and build credibility. Steve Jobs was a brilliant entrepreneur, inventor, and industrial designer, as everyone knew. And when he gave his famous Stanford speech, the world recognized him as a wise man in whom one believes unconditionally.

Features of commercial stories

To build storytelling into a company’s marketing, you need to:

  • formulate the purpose of the story;
  • be client-oriented;
  • use the “situation-problem-solution” scheme;
  • show the audience the value of the brand;
  • if possible, use a story to engage the audience or make the client a full participant in it.

How to tell stories that people will believe

You don’t have to be a talented storyteller, creative research paper writer, or director to come up with a story. It is enough to take a plot, phenomenon, or event that really changed your life or the life of someone around you.

Stories can tell:

  • about the creation of the product;
  • about working with clients;
  • about successes and failures;
  • directly about the product;
  • about the company;
  • about anything in general, directly or indirectly related to your business.

Ways to tell a story

Marketers don’t just tell stories with text or video. It can be comics, cards, offline speeches, podcasts, other formats for presenting content, and even multimedia. The main thing is to follow the algorithm.

Storytelling algorithm

Analysis of the target audience for storytelling

True, but marketers and other associated professionals frequently overlook this step, despite the fact that any marketing activities, whether launching an ad campaign or implementing a new product, begins with research on the target audience.

Before telling a story to readers or listeners, you should assess their prior experiences and listening skills. After that, bet on the ones who are more loyal and receptive.

The main idea of storytelling

In marketing, a commercial story catches the user’s attention and establishes an emotional link to the brand, resulting in trust and leading the customer to take a specific action.

When starting to build storytelling in a company, a marketer should keep in mind that there is a story behind every fact. It begins the moment a fact is discovered, and its impact on the further course of events is obvious. This fact becomes important to a certain audience when it somehow affects the context of that audience.

Choosing a hero for storytelling

The stories that a company tells about its job or product are dependent on the client’s context – their life, habits, and interests – rather than the company itself. The main character could be the client’s image or the image of the relative (mother, spouse, child). It could also be a pet, a household object, or another familiar object.

The character is usually drawn from a living person, and the audience thinks, “Oh, this is what my mother would do, and this is what my friend would say”. The character must be completely understood in order for you to know exactly how he would act in a certain situation – for this, you must fully develop the character.

Choosing the plot

It’s not so much about the story itself in commercial storytelling as it is about the advantage the story will give. It is critical in marketing to demonstrate how the brand can solve the customer’s problem.

That’s why storytellers base their stories on the product’s usefulness to the customer. The basis of the story is usually as follows: the hero encounters a problem and solves it with the help of the company’s product.

Storytelling in email marketing

Companies that launch mailing lists often use numbers and a simple listing of facts, and don’t want to scatter the attention of subscribers. They think, if people have already opened the letter, let them get the “maximum benefit”. But why do they need this, if trust in the company has not yet been formed? And trust cannot arise without emotion.

Stories in letters that aren’t just numbers and facts, but also include a plot, characters, and emotional attachment, can affect readings, establish a relationship between the subscriber and the brand, and involve to use of the product.

Most consumers have already developed banner blindness and don’t notice the standard advertising in newsletters, but they are not yet accustomed to letters with stories. That’s why such emails draw attention to themselves.

Features of email storytelling

Content story emails are usually lengthy, but if your story holds the reader’s attention from the beginning, the recipient is more likely to finish the email and possibly take targeted action.

Important: storytelling in a letter begins with the subject and the preheader. No matter how exciting the story is in the letter, it may not be opened at all if the headline is boring.

Storytelling techniques in emails

You can tell stories in letters in the following ways:

  • Blog article announcements as standalone stories.
  • A short story that leads to a targeted action.
  • Letter from the blog editor.
  • Stories in article previewsю
  • Quotes and stories from the brand’s customersю
  • Stories with a brand mascot.
  • Cases.
  • Comics.

You can also include videos in mailings, tell jokes in letters, start a series of letters, conclude each letter with an intrigue – so the reader expects the next one, and use a variety of formats (text + photos + video) in your mailings.

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